MAKATI CITYDepartment of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual reported significant accomplishments with 9,695 units of uncertified vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products worth PHP2,988,473 seized during DTI’s ramped-up enforcement initiatives in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the period 09 February to 26 April 2023.

The DTI – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) has been conducting routine inspections, following the DTI Secretary’s directive to tighten watch over firms’ or shop’s violations of Republic Act No. 11900. These include the following violations of firms or shops, in-store and online: (1) No signage to inform consumers against use of children and non-smokers; (2) Selling vape products that target children, through flavors or cartoon characters; (3) Selling vape products in locations with children, such as schools and playgrounds; (4) No age confirmation process against children’s interests; and (5) Vape product ads that target children and non-smokers.

During the abovementioned period, the DTI enforcement teams have visited 390 physical stores to ensure compliance with the DTI Administrative Order (DAO) 22-16, s. 2022, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11900. Prior to physical inspection, the DTI has conducted surveillance operations. With this, 121 firms were found compliant, while 106 stores were either closed or no longer selling vape products. However, violations were seen among 163 firms and they were required to submit a written explanation.

Likewise, the DTI-FTEB Online Monitoring Unit (OMU) has intensified its monitoring with a total of 16,376 monitored online vape stores. 86 online stores were found compliant, while 16,290 were non-compliant. Again, violators were asked to submit an explanation following physical inspection among 18 shops. Online platforms were likewise required to respond to violations of merchants using their platforms. 

Through these combined efforts, there are already 56 formal charges filed against violators of RA 11900 and its IRR. A case has also been filed against one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the country.

“As we work to sustain the growth and development of the Philippine economy, we continue to prioritize the protection and welfare of Filipino consumers, especially minors. The DTI remains steadfast in formulating and strictly implementing policies that will ensure that these vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products will not be easily accessible to minors who might be enticed by it. While we aim to protect the interest of businesses, we must also heed to the call of parents and other organizations regarding the effects of these products to minors,” Secretary Pascual said.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo also expressed the Consumer Protection Group’s (CPG) full commitment to implementing Trade and Industry Laws. “The DTI recognizes the fast-evolving trend insofar as novel products are concerned. Thus, the CPG, through the DTI-FTEB enforcement teams, is resolute in enforcing RA 11900 and the implementing rules,” said Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.

Further, FTEB Director Fhillip D. Sawali and Assistant Director Atty. Marimel D. Porciuncula also expressed the Bureau’s steadfast resolve in conducting physical and online monitoring activities pursuant to RA 11900 and its IRR.

Consumers are reminded that they should be able to see the following signage in shops selling vape products:

“The sale or distribution of Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products to or by persons below eighteen (18) years of age is illegal.”

“These products are harmful and contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for nonsmokers.”

The DTI urges consumers to report any observed violation of law discussed here. Reports may be sent through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or*

Date of release: 08 May 2023